Better Buildings Partnership Press Launch

(AMP Building, Harbour Terrace Room, Circular Quay)

Good morning, everyone, and welcome. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of this land, and I pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present.

This is a big day, an historic day.

For the first time, major property owners in Australia are working together on a precinct level with city government, to take action on climate change.

75 per cent of emissions are generated in our cities - particularly from commercial buildings. So it's in our cities, in our commercial buildings, where we need to make the deepest cuts.

The City of Sydney has already committed to reducing our emissions by 70 per cent by 2030 and today we are establishing a partnership with 13 Sydney major property owners to develop energy, water and waste systems to reduce our carbon footprint.

Australia has one of the highest levels of greenhouse gas emissions per capita in the world.

So the work we are doing and this historic partnership is really significant for the future of our City and indeed our Country.

It's also smart business. It will help Sydney businesses reduce their overheads, create opportunities for new businesses and make our city a better place to live and work.

For many years now, we have worked closely in support of Sydney businesses, from small start-ups through to the big end of town, with grants, programs and business awards.

Today's memorandum of understanding takes this relationship to a whole new level. By working together we will make Sydney one of the world's leading green cities.

Businesses recognise we need to act on climate change and want to work with governments to take practical action that will not only reduce their emissions but make them more commercially competitive.

A global survey in January of the world's 700 largest property funds and private landlords named Australia's leading property companies as global environmental leaders.

It said "it is clear that property companies from all over the world can learn from Australian best practices in environmental management."

Today, many are here, representing the 13 companies and organisations and the City which collectively own nearly 60 per cent of our CBD office space and are our founding members in this effort.

They are: AMP Capital Investors, Brookfield Office Properties Australia, Charter Hall, Colonial First State Property Global Asset Management, DEXUS, GPT Group, Investa Property, Group, Lead Lease, Mirvac, Stockland, Frasers Property, the University of Sydney, the University of Technology Sydney and the City of Sydney.

Energy efficiency measures are the necessary first step to reducing greenhouse gas emissions but our real "game-changing" move will be the establishment of green infrastructure such as the trigeneration and recycled water networks.

The Better Buildings Partnership will help us develop commercially viable energy infrastructure to create low-carbon zones across the City. Once we have removed existing regulatory impediments, we can make trigeneration available to the entire property market.

Producing energy locally instead of bringing it in from the Hunter Valley will reduce pressure on the state's ailing electricity infrastructure and future electricity price rises across the State.

The City last week hosted Professor Ross Garnaut, advisor to the Federal Government on climate change who presented his report.

He also congratulated us on our work, saying, "I have seen few, if any, programs to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions of the ambition of those embodied in the work program of the City of Sydney."

The Garnaut update warns that even with current international commitments to reduce carbon emissions, global average temperatures could rise by 3°C or 4°C with 6°C a possibility.

This is the scenario we are facing and in the absence of State and Federal leadership in responding to this crisis, I am proud the City along with Sydney businesses are leading the way in reducing emissions and costs.

I would like to thank all the members who've signed up today for their vision and commitment. Together, we will make Sydney one of the world's top sustainable cities.